No gasoline stations been fined yet for failing to post the Progressive Conservative government’s mandatory gas-pump stickers attacking federal carbon-pricing measures.
Energy Minister Greg Rickford’s office said scofflaws have not faced any penalties over the compulsory decals that state “the federal carbon tax will cost you.”
“The government is taking a progressive approach to enforcement. The purpose of the gas stickers is to educate the public, not to create a burden for hardworking small business owners,” Rickford’s office said.
“Fines are administered by the TSSA (the Technical Standards and Safety Authority), to date no fines have been laid,” the minister’s office said.
As of Nov. 30, the most recent date for which statistics are available, the TSSA reported that 240 gas stations had been inspected and “92 per cent of these retailers were compliant.”
But the 20 or so stations in the inspection blitz that weren’t in compliance with the controversial law were not sanctioned.
The Star revealed last September that the stickers easily peel off because they were apparently designed for indoor use with an adhesive meant for metal instead of the vinyl cladding found on pumps.
Premier Doug Ford, who ran his family’s decal business before entering politics, said last year he was unhappy the stickers weren’t sticking.
“Can you believe that? It’s like the shoemaker’s daughter not getting shoes? They have to pull me off the ceiling when they hear the stickers are coming off,” the premier said last summer.
But vandalism is also a problem. Last weekend, the Star visited several gas stations in the Greater Toronto Area — including in Ford’s Etobicoke neighbourhood — and found blank splotches where the stickers used to be.
The government paid Astley Gilbert $4,954 for the 25,000 stickers, one for every pump in the province.
Rickford’s office said “Publications Ontario continues to fulfill online orders from gas station retailers and (the government) is monitoring online sticker stock.”
The stickers became the law of the land Aug. 30 on the eve of the federal election campaign.
Results of the Oct. 21 vote suggest they did not help federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer unseat Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in Ontario.
The Liberals won 79 of Ontario’s 121 federal seats to 36 for the Tories.
According to Queen’s Park, there are minimum daily fines of $150 for gas stations that do not post the Tory-blue stickers.
Both the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Independent Petroleum Marketers Association, which represents gas stations, have criticized the Conservatives for burdening businesses.
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As well, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association launched a constitutional challenge about the legality of forcing private companies to post political slogans.
That’s because the decals do not explain any benefits from carbon pricing.